Defending NJ 2C:18-2 Burglary.
After you read the following NJ Criminal Statute (Burglary) you may decide that you need the help of a lawyer, or need a legal interpretation of how this statute applies to your case. The firm of Villani & DeLuca has experienced criminal lawyers with over 20 years of experience, including a former municipal prosecutor. Call the number above for a free 24×7 phone consultation or read more about the burglary charge.
Summary of a Burglary Charge in New Jersey
A person is charged with burglary when he or she enters a research facility or structure that was not open to the public and without permission to be there, with the intent to commit some offense once inside. This can include secretly remaining in that place with the knowledge that he or she does not have permission to be there. If the defendant is found guilty of such offense, it is burglary in the third degree, but it can be elevated to burglary in the second degree if particular circumstances arise, as outlined below.
Burden of Proof for a Burglary Conviction in NJ
In order to land a conviction for burglary in the third degree in New Jersey, the prosecutor must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant entered a research facility or structure without permission with the purpose to commit an offense while on the premises. A “research facility” is any building or laboratory or organization engaged in testing or experimental activities that utilizes animals for various purposes, including research, testing, or education. A “structure” is any building, room, ship, vessel, car, or airplane, as well as any place adapted for overnight accommodation.
A person acts purposely if his conscious objective is to cause a particular result. This conscious objective may be proven simply by a showing of the surrounding circumstances, including but not limited to what the defendant did at the time and place in question.
In order to land a conviction for burglary in the second degree in New Jersey, the prosecutor must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant either purposely, knowingly, or recklessly inflicted or attempted to inflict or threaten bodily injury on anyone, or was armed or displayed what appeared to be either a deadly weapon or an explosive device, while committing the burglary. To be armed with a deadly weapon or explosive, the State must also prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the weapon was easily accessible and readily available during the burglary.
Important to note here is the separate, but related, charge of the possession of burglary tools. This falls under N.J.S.A. 2C:5-5, and this charge includes the possession of a machine or tool that is made for committing theft or an offense that involves a forced entry, where the intended use of the tool is for burglary. In order to land a conviction for the possession of burglary tools, the State does not have to prove that an actual burglary occurred – the State only must prove possession.
Possible Defenses to Burglary in New Jersey
To defeat a conviction for burglary, it could be shown that the defendant, even though entering the premises without permission, did not do so with the purpose to commit an offense therein. However, if this is the case, then a jury could still find a defendant guilty of any lesser-included offenses, such as criminal trespass. Another possible defense can be that the premises was open to the public, or proving that the defendant had permission to enter the premises.
Penalties if Found Guilty of Burglary
A defendant found guilty of burglary in the third degree will face potential jail time between three and five years and a fine of no more than $15,000. A conviction of burglary in the second degree will result in jail time between five and ten years and a fine of no more than $150,000.
For the separate charge of the possession of burglary tools, when found, it is a fourth degree crime if the defendant manufactured the tool or published the plans or instructions; otherwise, it is only a disorderly persons offense. For the disorderly persons offense, the potential fine is no more than $1,000 and the maximum jail time is six months. If found guilty of the fourth degree crime of possession of burglary tools, then a defendant can face a jail sentence of up to eighteen months and may pay a fine of up to $10,000.
NJ Statute: 2C:18-2 Burglary.
a. Burglary defined. A person is guilty of burglary if, with purpose to commit an offense therein or thereon he:
(1)Enters a research facility, structure, or a separately secured or occupied portion thereof unless the structure was at the time open to the public or the actor is licensed or privileged to enter;
(2)Surreptitiously remains in a research facility, structure, or a separately secured or occupied portion thereof knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so; or
(3)Trespasses in or upon utility company property where public notice prohibiting trespass is given by conspicuous posting, or fencing or other enclosure manifestly designed to exclude intruders.
b. Grading. Burglary is a crime of the second degree if in the course of committing the offense, the actor:
(1)Purposely, knowingly or recklessly inflicts, attempts to inflict or threatens to inflict bodily injury on anyone; or
(2)Is armed with or displays what appear to be explosives or a deadly weapon.
Otherwise burglary is a crime of the third degree. An act shall be deemed “in the course of committing” an offense if it occurs in an attempt to commit an offense or in immediate flight after the attempt or commission.
amended 1980, c.112, s.2; 1981, c.290, s.18; 1995, c.20, s.3; 2009, c.283, s.2.
AKA: NJ Criminal Charge 2C:18-2, Violation 2C:18-2, Offense 2C:18-2
Disclaimer: A copy of this statute has been provided for your information. This wording was current from the NJ website lis.njleg.state.nj.us as of August 2012.